After Boehner’s crass attempt to have Netanyahu get even more standing ovations from the Congress in order to kill the negotiations with Iran, there’s some delicious irony in what has come next – and not least in Eli Lake’s and Josh Rogin’s prose:
The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has broken ranks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling U.S. officials and lawmakers that a new Iran sanctions bill in the U.S. Congress would tank the Iran nuclear negotiations … Evidence of the Israeli rift surfaced Wednesday when Secretary of State John Kerry said that an unnamed Israeli intelligence official had said the new sanctions bill would be “like throwing a grenade into the process.”
But an initial warning from Israeli Mossad leaders was also delivered last week in Israel to a Congressional delegation — including Corker, Graham, McCain and fellow Republican John Barrasso; Democratic Senators Joe Donnelly and Tim Kaine; and independent Angus King — according to lawmakers who were present and staff members who were briefed on the exchange. When Menendez (who was not on the trip) heard about the briefing, he quickly phoned Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer to seek clarification.
Wouldn’t you have loved to have seen McCain’s face when the Mossad told him they do not think another war against a Muslim state in the Middle East is the best idea right now, when far more workable alternatives are still available? But the truth is that many inside the sane Israeli defense and intelligence communities – which were opposed to the Iraq War – really do believe that negotiating constraints on Iran’s nuclear capacity is in Israel’s interest and that war is not.
They don’t believe that new threats of sanctions will do anything but scuttle any chance of a peaceful deal. And that the subsequent war would actually accelerate Iran’s now-stalled and frozen nuclear weapon program, rather than remove the threat. America’s intelligence community believes the same, as does the British prime minister:
The Israeli view shared with Corker and other senators also mirrors the assessment from the U.S. intelligence community. “We’ve had a standing assessment on this,” one senior administration official told us. “We haven’t run the new Kirk-Menendez bill through the process, but the point is that any bill that triggers sanctions would collapse the talks. That’s what the assessment is.” Another intelligence official said that the Israelis had come to the same conclusion.
Everything else is dangerous ideological posturing that could up-end years of painful diplomacy and manage to unite the Iranian regime with the vast majority of its otherwise pro-American opposition. It would be lose-lose-lose rather than a still live possibility of win-win. And when the Mossad is saying that AIPAC is out of control, someone on Capitol Hill should perk up and notice.